Friday, 2 September 2011

White Collar Boy On The Run From The Law [Review: The Next Three Days]

"What kind of criminal drives a Prius?"
"A socially responsible one?"

The Next Three Days stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. Lara is convicted of murdering her boss on what appears to be extremely strong evidence. John, her husband, is convinced of her innocence and as appeal after appeal fails he puts together a plan to spring her from jail.

Crowe's character is attempting to escape his and Lara's fate, so The Next Three Days is science fiction. This is also a jailbreak movie but instead of hardened criminals or captured soldiers there's an ordinary man - an English Lit lecturer - trying to do something extraordinary for love.

In addition to Crowe and Banks who are excellent, Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde have smaller but memorable roles. Meanwhile Crowe gets to make crazy diagrams on walls again, something I loved in A Beautiful Mind. See below for details of the other central cast member.

The film also provides a helpful tutorial on prison breaks including how to make a bump key, and how to force a car lock using a tennis ball. The plot relies on luck slightly too often but this is still an extremely enjoyable fantasy. The subtle influence of Don Quixote is a nice touch, as is the fact that one of the main characters is diabetic. However not everything is quite so subtle.

Did I mention the car? For two thirds of this movie Crowe is seen driving a black Toyota Prius in almost every shot. The car is as central to the plot as John himself, it gets shot at and damaged, and many of the Prius' most interesting features are showcased: for instance, in one scene it reverses into a short child. This is plausible given the poor rear visibility, but surely the child would have been visible on the rearview camera?

On second thoughts, I'm sure Russell Crowe can park without a parking autopilot so maybe he only has the T3 trim. The camera lingers lovingly over the Toyota logo, and in case you missed it all, there's the exchange above between two policemen puzzling over the Prius' presence at the scene of an attack. Product placement? I don't know what you're talking about.


Maurice Mitchell said...

Yeah, this one was interesting, but not great. Unlike the aforementioned "Beautiful Mind." I didn't catch all the Prius references. Not sure why now. LOL

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I noticed the car on it's first appearance for my own reasons (considering owning one) and from then on I was astounded by the level of chutzpah. There's an art to subtle product placement which was not on show here.

Curiously, for the final third the Prius gets suddenly dumped for a Chevy.